Amid talk that it may be harder to push Ukraine aid through a Republican-controlled House if they win the majority in midterms, lawmakers from both parties are considering passing a new massive piece of legislation before newly elected members are sworn in this January.
NBC News reported Thursday that the bipartisan idea under consideration would be to pass a bill for Ukraine aid that could cover an entire year during the lame-duck period. The bill is expected to be worth roughly $50 billion, which would bring total US spending on the war to over $115 billion.
The new aid would likely be attached to an omnibus spending bill. An unnamed Republican senator told NBC that the legislation would make $12 billion of Ukraine aid that was included in a recent stopgap funding bill “look like pocket change.”
News of the plan comes after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) suggested that Ukraine aid may be more difficult to pass in a GOP-majority House by saying they’re not going to “write a blank check” for Ukraine. Other Republicans have insisted that most in the party support shipping billions in aid to Ukraine and that the concerns are more over the lack of oversight.
So far, the Biden administration has not asked Congress for more Ukraine aid. President Biden on Thursday said that he was “worried” a Republican majority House would “cut” Ukraine aid, signaling that a request may be coming soon.
Over in Ukraine, David Arakhamia, the leader of Voldymr Zelensky’s Servant of the People party in parliament, said he was “shocked” by Mcarthy’s comments. “Just a few weeks ago, our delegation visited the US and had a meeting with Mr. McCarthy. We were assured that bipartisan support of Ukraine in its war with Russia will remain a top priority even if they win in the elections,” Arakhamia said.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov brushed off McCarthy’s comments, chalking them up to campaign rhetoric. McCarthy himself has been very supportive of spending billions on the war in Ukraine, but questioning the policy could appeal to voters in the US as Americans are facing high inflation and gas prices.